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|South Park episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker
|Original air date||September 30, 1998|
Dian Bachar as the Cow Days' announcer
"Cow Days" is the thirteenth episode of the second season of the animated television series South Park, and 26th episode of the series overall. "Cow Days" originally aired in the United States on September 30, 1998. It features issues of cults and the ethics of rodeos and funfairs.
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On a game show a couple named Tom (apparently native polynesian) and Mary win a trip to South Park for the "Cow Days" festival. Though this was far from what they hoped for in a prize, they decide to try to enjoy it anyway. The usual festival practices events such as releasing cows (a release that results in the death of many people, mainly due to their panicked haste to escape the passive cows), a reference to Pamplona's Running of the Bulls. Meanwhile, Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman are at the carnival, but find it far less than satisfactory, containing rides such as "The Chamber of Farts" (which is rather short and not scary) and the "Line Ride" (which consists of nothing more than standing in a long line until they reach the end). They finally find something enjoyable in a ball-throwing game that allows them the chance to win a pair of Terrance and Phillip dolls, but the game is rigged and cannot be won (to win, the balls must be thrown through Jennifer Love Hewitt's mouth, but they do not fit). It is very expensive, costing $5 for three balls; the fact the game cannot be won makes it a cash-guzzling scam. The game's sexual connotations also go unnoticed. At first, Kyle tries to call "shenanigans" in an attempt to bring Officer Barbrady's attention to the rigged game, but the carny running the stall cleverly replaces the last ball with one that is small enough to fit through the hole. Kyle is unable to justify his declaration when his last throw is a winner. Afterwards, once Barbrady is gone, the carny goes back on his word and tells them they have to win seven times to get the dolls, and until then they could only win a miniature Barbie mirror or a Bon Jovi toothpick. They decide to enter Cartman in the bull-riding contest to try to win $5,000, enough money to play until they get the dolls.
Meanwhile, all the cows in the town discover the festival's symbol, a giant Buddha-shaped clock with the head of a cow which moos every hour, and carry it off to start their own cult, where they begin to worship it as a god. The visitors from the game show are accused of stealing the clock and are thrown in jail.
During practice for the bull-riding contest, Cartman rides on an elderly bull, but gets thrown off (after the bull gets enraged after being hit in the testicles by a snowball thrown by Kyle) and hits his head. He is then diagnosed with a peculiar state of amnesia and believes himself to be a Vietnamese prostitute named Ming-Lee, which references a scene from Full Metal Jacket. They boys enter him in the contest anyway and he wins the grand prize; during the contest, Kenny gets killed when the bull Cartman was riding impales him through the head with one of its horns. After an overnight stay with Leonardo DiCaprio, Cartman finally gets his memory back.
The leaders of the town find the cows and confront them, telling them to go back to their proper places in society. Instead, the cows commit mass suicide. Powerless to stop them, the people of the town mourn the cows' sad action.
Back at the carnival, the dishonest carny decides to just let the boys buy the dolls with their $5,000 rather than play for them. However, the boys discover that the dolls are not authentic but cheap knock-offs, as they had originally suspected. Kyle "reinstates [his] claim of shenanigans" on the game, making everyone else realize how stupid and lame the carnival is. Officer Barbrady officially declares "shenanigans", which gives the townspeople free rein to destroy the carnival with brooms, before the carnies are all arrested. Meanwhile, Jimbo and Ned return the stolen clock and tearfully explain the cows' fate to the Mayor before going to join the riot.
In the excitement of the riot, Tom and Mary are forgotten and starve to death in prison and are found being eaten by mice (presumably all within one day). A plan to cover up the deaths is arranged; everyone is instructed to claim that the couple never arrived in South Park, and thus ends the Cow Days Festival.
The following day Stan and Kyle are at the bus stop, playing with their Terrance and Phillip dolls when Cartman arrives explaining that he had the weirdest dream and that he became a Vietnamese prostitute and rode a bull, followed by getting spanked by Leonardo DiCaprio for several hours. Upon seeing the dolls, he quickly assumes that Stan and Kyle put him in the bull-riding contest and what happened was true; the boys try to state he was dreaming. At that moment, a limousine pulls up, the driver of which can be seen to be the alien from the first episode: "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe", and Leonardo DiCaprio thanks Cartman for his services. Cartman realizes his dream was a reality; angered by this, he shouts "Son of a bitch!" as Stan and Kyle laugh at him.
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